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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana Awards $50,000 Grant to Support YWCA Billings Gateway Vista

Transitional housing complex provides victims of domestic and sexual abuse with support services

From the time YWCA Billings’ Gateway Shelter was built in 1998, it has provided victims of abuse with a safe and nurturing environment to get back on their feet. 

With support provided by a $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT), YWCA can provide even more security by offering access to affordable housing at Gateway Vista – a facility featuring 24 housing units on the existing campus. The grant itself will fund rent and utility payments for one year for one- and two-bedroom apartments, staffing for wrap-around services to Gateway Vista tenants, and other informational and administrative costs.

“What YWCA Billings has done prior to the completion of the Gateway Vista complex is nothing short of incredible, and we’re confident this facility will allow this amazing organization to provide unparalleled services to the Billings area’s most vulnerable citizens,” said John Doran, BCBSMT VP of External Affairs and Chief of Staff.

According to YWCA, there is a shortage of affordable housing in Billings, which means wait times often range between six months and two years. And wait times for one-bedroom units can reach as long as seven years. That leaves victims of sexual and domestic abuse with nowhere else to go, and at risk of becoming homeless or returning to abusive partners.

In 2017, prior to the construction of Gateway Vista, YWCA Billings provided 8,310 nights of safe shelter to 154 adults and 100 children, victim support and individualized programming for 560 adults and 132 children, legal consultation to 133 victims of domestic and sexual abuse, among many other important services.

The Gateway Vista housing complex, which will be completed in 2018, has an outdoor play and recreation area for families and children, laundry facilities on each floor, a computer lab for tenants, private office spaces for counseling and help sessions, and access for all tenants to YWCA Transitional Services at no cost. Those services include financial counseling, legal support, clinical counseling, education and training, and job placement.

HKHF is a signature program of BCBSMT and part of an ongoing commitment to invest in and partner with like-minded nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in the five following areas: nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, substance abuse prevention, and suicide prevention. The $50,000 HKHF grant is one of four BCBSMT awards each year.

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